DATE: August 31, 2015
PARTIES: University of Toronto v B.L.
Hearing Date(s): February 20, 2015
Andrew Pinto, Chair
Louis Florence, Faculty Member
Yusra Qazi, Student Member
Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Wayne Dowler, Dean’s Designate, University of Toronto Scarborough
André Sorensen, Instructor of the Course
Sinéad Cutt, Administrative Assistant, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) of the Code – plagiarism – Student used significant portions others’ work without attribution, too extensive to be done accidentally – hearing not attended – reasonable notice of hearing provided – finding on evidence – finding on guilt – grade assignment of zero in the Course; 2-year suspension; notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript until his graduation; case reported to Provost for publication
Student charged under s. B.i.1(d) and, in the alternative, s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student used the work of another author without attribution in an essay worth 20% of the overall Course grade. Turnitin software revealed a substantial similarity between parts of the Student’s essay and previously published work. The extensive nature of the material cited without attribution suggested that the impugned text could not have been placed accidentally by the Student. The Student was not present for the hearing. The Panel found that reasonable notice of the hearing had been provided and determined that it would be appropriate for the hearing to proceed in the Student’s absence.
Student was found guilty with respect to the plagiarism charge. The University then withdrew the alternative charge of academic dishonesty not otherwise described. The Panel took into account Tribunal cases on plagiarism in determining the appropriate sanctions, noting that the Student had engaged in a deliberate act of plagiarism, that the importance of academic integrity had clearly been brought to the Student’s attention, and that the Student had failed to cooperate with the University by failing to meet with the professor, failing to attend the hearing, and unhelpfully taking an aggressive, accusatory and personal tone in email communications with his professor. There was no evidence of the Student’s remorse or other mitigating circumstances. The Panel imposed a grade assignment of zero in the Course; a 2-year suspension; a notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript until his graduation; and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.